HubMob Weekly Topic: Spring in India and Boom Bhang a Bhang!

Cannabis Capers
Cannabis Capers

Traditionally, Holi the festival of colours was a kind of letting down of one’s hair after the harvest was over. When all the toil and work was done, it was time for a bit of levity – and maybe levitation of the spirits. So, along with the riotous splashing of colours on everyone, the mood is also on a high thanks to bhang, without which no respectable Holi celebration especially in North India is complete.

What exactly is ‘bhang’?

It’s a paste that is made by pounding the buds and tender leaves of the female cannabis plant. It is usually pounded with a mortar and a pestle and then mixed into a drink or added to food. During Holi, the most popular way to have bhang is to mix it into milk which has been sweetened and into which spices and almond paste have been added. It is usually drunk cold. At some Holi parties, bhang is also served in snacks like pakoras – or savoury fried dumplings.


Bhang’s been around

It’s very much a part of Indian history and culture. The plant is considered holy and has been associated with Lord Shiva who, it is said, was the one who discovered the transcendental properties of this plant. This is probably why even today on the banks of the Ganges in the holy city of Benaras, you will still see bhang being prepared all round the year. It is after all, Lord Shiva’s holy place.

The benefits of bhang

The practice of making bhang a part of the happy events in one’s life goes back to at least a thousand years. While some believed it was an enjoyment not to be missed, especially during celebrations, others firmly believed it was beneficial to health. Physically, bhang is said to be good for so many ailments from indigestion to fever to dullness. Mentally, it is said to make you very alert. And spiritually, it is supposed to raise you to the plane of ecstasy. According to traditional nutritionists, it is a complete food that corrects any deficiency in the body and strengthens the immune system.

Bhang moments – each to his own

Every bhang experience is different. Some keep laughing and can’t seem to stop. Others just have this warm feeling inside of them. For most, it’s a great sense of freedom that washes over them, helping them forget proprieties and plunge headlong into the fun the festival demands. It’s an enlivening experience that has no equal.

Bhang and music

Besides Holi, bhang is popular at music festivals too. Mixed into flour which has spices added, it is then made into papads or poppadoms which are carried into the venue. With bhang inside you, the sound of music affects all your senses, filling you with joy with each note that is played or sung.


A plant you probably wouldn’t notice if you didn’t know – and it has such power. The potent way it affects the mind, body and soul is something that stays on in the memory long after the last bit of colour of Holi is washed off.


More by this Author


Comments 53 comments

goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

I want some bhang!


Laila Rajaratnam profile image

Laila Rajaratnam 7 years ago from India

Shalini as usual your hubs are great and I am always in awe of the wonderful titles you give your hubs!:)


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

Well -- who knew? Bhang me sideways, sister! Great hub -- very uplifting. Good to know there are still civilized places on earth where the art of letting loose is understood and has cultural significance.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Come to India GT :D

Laila - thank you - I don't deserve it - blame it on the bhang!! :D


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

It's a slam, bhang, thank you kind of feeling Teresa - very, very civilised - je vous assure :D


kirubaharris 7 years ago

There you go again, educating me on something I was not aware of. As my grandmother used to say, "too much of anything is good for nothing".


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 7 years ago from The Ozarks

Shalini, great hub! You have a wonderful way of describing joyous celebrations. Now if you can only spread this civilized tolerance to other countries as well...


Abhishek87 profile image

Abhishek87 7 years ago from India

I am in India and still haven't had any bhang :| .... Can you export ( or whatever it is you call intra-country transfer) some, Shalini :D


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

K- I agree - too much might be bad but a l'il bit is a great feeling!

Aya - thanks for coming by - tolerance comes from freeing the mind - and what better way than with bhang? :)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Abhishek - you can buy them in government approved shops during Holi :)...or of course in Benares!


Abhishek87 profile image

Abhishek87 7 years ago from India

Great, I am bhang-ing out tomorrow morning :P


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Up, up and away!! :D


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas

how interesting! Thank you! :)


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I had a bhang lassi in India once - it was great! Fantastic hub, once again.

"Can you export ( or whatever it is you call intra-country transfer) some, Shalini"

I have a funny feeling one or both of you would end up with free housing and food, at Her Majesty's Pleasure.....


G-Ma Johnson profile image

G-Ma Johnson 7 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

I'm moving to India...G-Ma :O) Hugs & Peace


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Suzanne - thanks for reading!

LondonGirl - yes, it's a great high, isn't it? The first time I had it, we were going back from a Holi party on a motorbike and I had this strange feeling I was moving backwards and it thrilled me no end!

...er - wonder if I should order a designer jailbird outfit :D

G-Ma - you are most welcome - we'll organise a bhang-up party in your honour!


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I have a friend in Chenai maybe I'll have her invite me next year for this festival as i want a big bhang! :D


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Ideally, you should be in Delhi or Bombay - the South doesn't really celebrate Holi like they do in the North. Maybe we could organise a Hub-Holi in India next year!


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

Wow that sounds great! I'm excited already! LOL


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago

Shalini, Greetings!

You explain the Big Bhang theory so very well!

:)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Cris - sounds good, what? We should try and make it happen!

quicksand - haha - I should have known to expect something like that from you :D


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Ooooh...will never forget my one and only bhang experience...everything seemed bigger, louder, closer, brighter and more colourful!


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

I think this hub is Bhang on target!

Great hub!


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 7 years ago from Central Oklahoma

And nobody goes to jail for possession or selling India's version of pot. Amazing....


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

In some places, I think the Indian govt. actually sells the stuff itself.


Abhishek87 profile image

Abhishek87 7 years ago from India

So many hubbers need this, a business opppurtunity :D Anyone needing Bhang please contact me, I am an exporter as of now :P

LG : free housing and food, can you make it happen ? :)

Jama : Now you know where to go to pot all you want without the 'OMG, its the cops' part :P


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

FP: Was that when you danced on all those tables?? :D

sixtyorso: hehe - thanks!

Jama: just some leaves and buds - back to nature - now what could be wrong with that? *looks innocent* :D

LG: you're right - come Holi and it's sold thu govt-approved shops.

Abhishek: you may just have something there!


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Haha Shal...you never forget do you? :P


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

When a gregarious cat trips the light fantastic on tables, no - 'tis never forgot LOL!


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Free food and lodging becomes part of the deal when you get caught importing the Bhang. Is it a case of the buck stops here with a bhang!


Vibhavari profile image

Vibhavari 7 years ago from India

Hey Shalini! I always knew spirituality would be fun. what with bhaang and all..:)


Abhishek87 profile image

Abhishek87 7 years ago from India

sixtyorso : I was thinking of the other free lodging and food :|

Any ideas where I can get that :P


phoenixritu profile image

phoenixritu 7 years ago from India

Hub Holi ... with bhang too. I am so inviting myself into it. Great hub

http://www.phoenixritu.com/


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

"LG : free housing and food, can you make it happen ? :)" Yup, but sadly, it's "At Her Majesty's Pleasure". You might not like the food, or the company, and you don't get to leave....


Abhishek87 profile image

Abhishek87 7 years ago from India

Hmmm, I think we should have a Hub-House in every country (well, from every one with susbtantial hubbers) and then maybe I'll get my free lodging and food without 'Her Majesty's pleasure' :)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

sixtyorso - haha - you're really getting into the spirit or it aren't you??

Abhishek - nothing comes for free - take a bhang trip and chill!

Ritu - Thanks - you must have had a blast in Delhi!

LG - better bhang and freedom than bhang and behind bars :D


Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

Fabulous hub! What a fantastic title. I'm loving this information. I have never heard of Bhang. Incredible. Thanks for sharing. Great HubMob Spring topic!


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

Really enjoyable read Shalini I am moving over there. I want some Bhang


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Frieda - thanks for reading and for becoming a fan!

blondepoet - you're welcome - come next Holi for a bhang blast!


britneydavidson profile image

britneydavidson 7 years ago from united kingdom

wow great information....i want it....great hub....thanx shalini...for such a wonderful hub...keep it up...


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Thanks for reading and commenting Britney :)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Sounds great Shalini. Certainly beats Hot Cross Buns as a seasonal treat! Hemp is such a useful plant; rope, oil, birdseed and bhang!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Hi Amanda - it's a great high - and yes, hemp has so many uses. But I love those Hot Cross Buns too :) Thanks for stopping by!


ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

Are we americans very welcome in India these days?

I've always been fascinated with the country. It's one of many places I wish to visit, perhaps even live, though I see no possibility.

Since bhang evidently makes a delicious, refreshing drink why can't we replace the liquor industry here with a wide variety of bhang drinks? After all, the original Coca Cola really was made with cocaine.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Of course CWB - and our doors will always be open to you :) Isn't it sad that tha ancient natural 'escapism' concoctions have made way for much more dangerous addictions like alcohol? The bhang high really is a great high :D


ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

I'm sure there's a lengthy and very interesting hub to answer that question. Curiouser and curiouser.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

I'm sure CWB :)


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Oh Shalini, I have been so busy and have neglected you my dear bhang lady. So that's how you come up with such great hubs. hmmm now we know. So wonderful it would be if we could do that here, in open anyway. I'd be bhanging my self silly, but it makes me too horny anyway.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

Hey Shalini, I'm keen to visit India again. Maybe I can be an extra in another Bollywood movie lol. Didn't come across bhang when I was there so now just have to go back


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Ah CC - you flatter me - but it is a great high - you'll love it!

cindyvine - you get it in goverment-approved shops during Holi - other times, it's mostly underground. The next time, don't get taken for a ride - hold out for a lot more if it's a Bollywood movie :)


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

hi, Ms. Shalini, I want a taste of bang too, when I was growing up in the Philippines, I remember seeing plant like this in the mountains, I dont know what is it for that time, it is also medicinal and have benefits.

I love looking and reading articles pertaining to other culture, I am sure I am going to see a lot more from your articles.

Have a good day and thanks for your time, Maita


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India Author

Hi Maita - thanks so much for coming by and reading - so glad you enjoyed it!


sexeducationnow profile image

sexeducationnow 6 years ago

waiting for holi :D

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working